We have often heard that “location, location, location” is a key component of buying a house. I would like to suggest that “vocation, vocation, vocation” is the key element in finding a professional with whom to work, to buy that house. Wikipedia describes vocation as an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which he/she is suited, trained, or qualified.
According to the New Jersey Realtor’s association, there are approximately 48,000 members in their organization. There are approximately 16,000 licensed or registered mortgage loan officers in New Jersey, according to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. There are a total of 565 municipalities in the state of New Jersey, which are comprised of 254 boroughs, 52 cities, 15 towns, 241 townships, and 3 villages. You can do your own analysis, but it is very clear that there are a lot of real estate and mortgage professionals vying for the same business out there!
The question becomes, how does a potential home buyer or home owner choose the most suitable professional with whom to work?! We all know these particular industries are fierce marketers, both online and offline, trying to grab your attention. Past clients, friends, relatives and neighbors participate in offering their recommendations and opinions of experiences in working with such professionals. Needless to say, it is a competitive and crowded industry.
Years in the business, designations & certifications, affiliations & relationships are but a few of the myriad of questions that one should ask along the way. Price, fee, commission, and the like, are certainly variables that most sellers and mortgage applicants are focused on. In truth, these are all important and necessary questions to research when choosing your real estate and mortgage professional. But there is so much more - and I am not talking about the industry tools and marketing resources that are used to differentiate one agent from the next.
I was talking to a potential client last week who admitted that she was speaking to seven other mortgage professionals. She was juggling texts, emails, and calls trying to collect as much information as possible. I honestly applauded her efforts in trying to research whom to use, and make the best decision possible. I spent a few brief moments on the phone with her and quickly realized that she was extremely overwhelmed with information, numbers, and expectations. There was no way that she fully understood what was being thrown at her, and what was being asked of her. At that point, I told her that I am taking two steps back, and walked her through the home purchase process from A-Z. Rates, fees, points, refunds, discounts, and deadlines – yes, yes, these are all important items, but taken out of context they can easily be manipulated and altered along the way. In addition to telling her what we could offer her, I told her what she should be asking of others and what is expected of her. I didn’t ask what the other offers were, or how my rates and fees compared to the marketplace; I didn’t ask her to immediately commit or give her any deadline to decide. At that point, I was purely trying to help someone who was lost.
In the end, she ended up going with the smooth-talking salesperson who promised her the world - and the afternoon was a huge waste of my time. I am just kidding… she did call me back early the next morning emphatically ready to move forward with us. She admitted our rates, fees, and proposal was extremely competitive - but that was far from her focal point, and not the deciding factor. She recognized and appreciated my “passion and integrity” and did not feel that she would get anything comparable from the others.
When you find someone who truly loves what they do it’s easy to recognize and discern the real differences out there. For those that have the patience to pursue vocation, vocation, vocation – they will undoubtedly end up with the best location, location, location and experience.
Shout out to Julie Farkas – Happy Birthday to you!
By Shmuel Shayowitz
Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience including licenses and certifications as certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at